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on July 25, 2007
What the previous reviewer has labeled fluff is generally regarded by scholars as "close reading" of the text, paying attention to details in the text which we might otherwise ignore. Granted the Garlands go beyond the text on (rare) occasion, asking questions the text doesn't seem particularly interested in asking. But this does not detract on the whole from what is otherwise a careful, insightful project.

This readable book is easy to read and is for anyone interested in the Bible, especially those struggling with family problems or suffering because of relationship difficulties or traumatic life events.

For example, the chapter on Michal provides insight into her shame at David's dancing, insight which most readers (including the present reviewer) tend to miss without special attention to her story elsewhere in Samuel. We miss such insights because of many factors, but particularly due to failure to read the Bible closely and our cultural assumptions which may reflect Hollywood more than the Holy Book (i.e., that Bathsheba seduced David, an assumption the authors rightly refute). There are two antidotes: going back to the text to see what it really says, and asking careful questions to ensure that the text is saying what we think it's saying.

As the Garlands note, when we pay careful attention to those who are "damaged goods" in Scripture, the simple act of hearing that one's trials are also found in Scripture provides enormous encouragement to the suffering. For those of us who live around others who are suffering, hearing oft-ignored stories from Scripture helps us hear the cries and needs of those who suffer in the present. The Bible isn't just about heroes, and it's certainly not about perfect families and lives--it's about people in need of mercy and grace and restoration.

Well done, Garlands!
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on October 1, 2014
This was exactly the book I was looking for. After studying through Genesis I was inspired to develop a 13 week adult Sunday School series on "Dysfunctional Families of the Bible". David and Diana Garland had already done some of the work for me. So, it has become a resource guide for some of the main characters to look at. Their insight into the plight of some of the abused women who suffered in silence was particularly useful in helping very similar women today to see that in spite of circumstances you are placed in God will bless you and strengthen you. It would have been difficult for only a male author to have peered this deeply into the feelings of women.
My only wish is that was longer. Maybe there should be a volume 2. Here are a few examples:
1. Sibling Rivalry: Jacob & Esau 2. Favoritism of Parents: Isaac & Rebekah 3. Lying Parents passing the sin from generation to generation: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob 4. Rape in the family: Tamar & Amnon and on and on.
Thanks David and Diana for writing this book that helps show that the Bible characters were real people who made it through real problems just like we experience today.
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on April 14, 2007
This was a good book with lots,well some, pretty good life lessons (forgiving pages 151-152 ). But there could have been more examples of flawed families and way less fluffing out of the few examples they did include in the book.It was nice to know that Biblical families are as dysfunctional as 21st century families. Would I buy it again? Absolutely just so I could refer back to the passages I underlined.
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on July 14, 2014
Great book. Reminds me to view my flaws and those of other Christians with a more empathetic heart. Too often I've become legalistic, but this book reminds me that flaws come in many shades.
Easy read with quick chapters. Insightful.
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on September 6, 2007
In a world of books that presents ideal Christian families as the norm, it's easy to forget that God's plan was realized through a lineage of flawed families! This book is a refreshing change and a source of hope for all broken and flawed families!
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VINE VOICEon July 12, 2009
It's almost commonplace to hear someone say, "Oh, my family's so dysfunctional." After reading and enjoying Flawed Families of the Bible, I realize more than ever that all families have their little quirks, skeletons in the closet, weird relationships, crazy old uncle (or aunt), and situations that kind of make you say, "HUH?" Nevertheless, the book conveys a clear message that God works through imperfect people and their imperfect relationships...people just like us.

While debating whether to buy it or not, I opened right to "Dinah's Story" and wondered how a person would feel if her brothers took such brutal, bloody steps to avenge a "rape." In that same chapter, I read about Tamar being raped by her own half-brother. Not only did her "loving" father do nothing to avenge assault; neither did he try to comfort her or offer any compassion. I flipped to another chapter and skimmed the pages about Leah and Rachel. How would it feel to NEVER come first in your husband's affection? Then there was Bathsheba, and for some reason, I'd never really thought that much about her feelings of abuse (?) and loss.

Garland and Garland tell the stories and then apply them to our lives today as we struggle with envy, distrust, favoritism, rejection, and a host of other emotions and situations. It's well-written, thought-provoking, and educational. What more can you ask for in a book?
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on June 4, 2009
Diana Garland's "Flawed Families of the Bible" was a real eye opener for me. It exposes some very pro-women themes in the Bible. Counter to what too many of us have been taught in Sunday school, the patriarchs of the Judeo-Christian heritage were oftentimes colossal failures when it came to protecting the wives and daughters that they were sworn to protect. Too often, and on an out-of-context surface level, contemporary "understandings" of these Old Testament stories seem to promote the subjugation of women at the hands of their men. The truth, however, is that these men, even as they were also used for God's redemptive purposes, were flawed, petty jerks whose primary interests were not those of God's or their wives and daughters, but their own. This book is a much needed, exegetical and soundly argued counterbalance to the mixed messages our churches sometimes (hopefully unwittingly) communicate about the value and integrity of women. In short, if you think that the Bible is maligned against women (and it bothers you), then this book should be a refreshing read. It was for me.

Thanks for reading,
-C. Lambeth
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on June 26, 2015
There were interesting discussion points in our group which included experienced pastors an therapists, but too much guesswork on the author's side. By nature of the subject and specific documentation, that can be expected, I suppose.
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on January 30, 2014
If you never saw the Bible from a psychological view point before, this book will give you a lot of thoughts for food. Some insights are very good and it's about time the Bible shares both known and unknown stories from a woman's perspective.
One thing I didn't like was too much speculating about how the people felt and what happened between the lines. It would have been better with a "less is more" attitude instead of speculating.
Still a book I recommend.
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on August 25, 2014
I haven't read much but already am surprised. I was expecting a different take but the authors have a humanist perspective. I'm thankful however to learn more about the Bible and its families scripturally and historically.
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